Alhi Leconte/ Staff Writer
The Florida Senate just passed a bill to permit school teachers and staff to carry guns. This is on the heels of the Feb. 14 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL.
Calls for gun reform were loud and strong. Citizens have called for firm restrictions purchasing firearms, raising the age limit of obtaining guns, banning assault rifles and more thorough background checks. Though some of the new legislation could help towards a positive change, arming teachers and staff will take away from the learning environment in schools if it becomes a law.
The idea of arming school employees is not only idiotic, but it’s also impractical. The amount of money that will go into funding this moronic idea is absurd. Having armed staff would ensure the presence of guns in schools and will surely increase gun related incidents at schools.
The legislation establishes that staff who meet certain criteria can carry firearms in schools. Tens of millions of dollars will be funneled into training and other safety measures, but none of that makes it certain that a teacher would be a star marksman and all students would be safe in the face of danger.
Supporters of this legislation fail to acknowledge that there was a trained officer at the Parkland high school at the time of the shooting who ran away. Someone whose job is to protect the lives of the students failed to do so. It’s wrong to expect a teacher, coach or librarian to do that instead.
School teachers and staff shouldn’t have to go to work every day looking over their shoulders wondering if they’ll have to shoot somebody. Shooters of schools always seem to be current, or in the case of Parkland former, students of those particular schools.
Teachers and staff would have to train to spot and shoot their own students. While gun wielding students aren’t innocent, who’s to say a teacher won’t overreact or have bad judgement and mistakenly take an innocent life?
In 2013, data from a study on injury prevention from Mother Jones and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that states with more guns tend to have a higher amount of gun deaths.
The biggest proponents for arming school staff fail to see that they will perpetuate the gun violence in our country. The supporters of arming teachers want to give more money to gun manufacturers. This tactic is being used as a disguise to sell more guns which will raise the amount of gun-related deaths.
There is a fear that the arming school employees will pose more of a negative impact on students of color. It’s been proven that students of color face school disciplinary consequences much more than white students do. Students of color could feel targeted instead of protected.
Black people are already being killed at an alarming rate. Police brutality is one of the biggest issues in our nation. Nationwide data gathered by the Guardian showed that black Americans are more than twice as likely as their white counterparts to be killed by police when considering the population.
In 2016, black Americans were killed by police at a rate of 6.66 per one million people, compared to 2.9 per one million for white Americans. Some of the most highly covered police brutality cases in the media have had black children as fatal victims. Arming school staff would bring that violence right into schools.
Law enforcement and security are nowhere to be found in the job description of the staff who will be allowed to carry guns in school because their job is not to wield guns. The job of school employees is to facilitate an environment to aid the education and growth of young minds. School staff being given the ability to incite an uncomfortable learning environment for students can create the opposite effect.
If the goal is to prevent campus massacres, then making schools gun zones is awful because arming school employees is not a viable solution to ensuring the safety of the public.
The opinions presented within this page do not represent the views of Panther Press Editorial Board. These views are separate from editorials and reflect individual perspectives of contributing writers and/or members of the University community.
Photo by Tra Nguyen on Unsplash.